Obama versus Pope Benedict (Washington Times, 11/30/2004)
President-elect Barack Obama's plan to pass the Freedom of Choice Act is setting up a showdown with the Vatican. "The first thing I will do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," he said at an address before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007. And if he does, it will trigger a harsh response from Pope Benedict XVI, as well as a political revolt among practicing American Catholics. Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) "would be the equivalent of a war," a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. "It would be like saying, 'We've heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.' " At a recent Baltimore meeting, the U.S. Catholic bishops pledged to challenge Mr. Obama on his defense of abortion rights. FOCA seeks to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law. It would remove all restrictions on abortion in state statutes - including restraints on late-term abortions and parental notification laws. It would also entrench taxpayer funding of abortion. Moreover, it would compel Catholic health-care facilities to provide the heinous procedure. In short, it constitutes a fundamental assault on basic Catholic doctrine.